4 Tips to create a good workflow at home March 31, 2020
Working from home is natural to us. We’ve done it since the very start of Flow Pilots.
Now that the Covid-19 situation has forced most people (or the lucky ones who are still operational) to work remotely, we thought it would be interesting to share our golden tips for both employers and employees to enhance a good workflow!
Planning and organisation are key!
Take your time to prepare a weekly and daily planning. Make sure you have a calendar where you can divide your time into specific tasks. Set time slots for working hours, lunch/dinner time and moments when you spend time with your family. Stick to your plan and create a habit. Don’t let yourself get distracted by household chores.
It might be difficult at first, but it’s really important to set these boundaries if you want to get your work done and have proper focus.
Tools we use for planning are:
- Jira: Make timesheets, create a weekly and daily schedule and track the progress of a task. Employers can keep an eye on what the team’s working on, check how long this take and help where needed.
- Google calendar: make your weekly or daily schedule and get an overview of your team members, organise online meetings.
When your team isn’t physically working together things can get chaotic and unclear. Make sure you have a decent system where you can find each other’s work and use the opportunities of online communication!
Each day before lunch we organise our ‘daily huddle’. People at the office assemble around one screen and our colleagues who are working from home call in. We discuss all the open issues (in Jira) and check what the progress is and if anyone needs help. This helps to stay alert and creates collective responsibility.
For quick questions we use Slack, on which we’re constantly connected during working hours. We have different groups per projects and general groups where we can share information addressed to everyone, ex. when you’re heading to a doctors visit, your call is overrun etc. If you leave your home desk for whatever reason, we use ‘AFK’ away from keyboard, this creates an effective kind of social monitoring.
If we organise meetings we follow a fixed meeting template, discussing previous meeting subjects, to do’s and agenda points for the current meeting. A good preparation is efficient and saves you time. Make sure to turn the items discussed during the meeting, into specific action points!
Last but not least, make sure you have a system in which you can exchange documents. We use Wiki and google drive to share structures, excel sheets, word documents, pictures etc.
To stay connected you can use:
- Google meet-up: organise online meet ups with colleagues or clients
- Slack: personal or group chats, exchange pictures, pin online meeting spaces to your different groups
- Whatsapp: personal or group chats, exchange pictures
- Wiki: Collect and create a clear overview of your work, share documents, give access to members of choice to access.
- Google Drive: Share folders or files with documents or pictures, give access to members of choice to access.
Don’t forget the essence of good team spirit!
Because being apart from your colleagues while working at home can be lonely, we made some new spaces to meet up.
We knew we would miss our chats around the coffee machine so we recreated this meeting spot with a new ‘coffee channel’ on Slack. This channel is connected to an online google meet-up where everyone who is having a coffee can drop in. Our Friday team drink is converted to an online ‘bring your own drinks’ drink.
It’s really nice to keep your normal office habits going and very important to keep your team spirit alive. To make sure we get enough movement and to create a new way of teambuilding, we started with a 10 min online work-out. Something all companies can do! Check in with the team on a regular basis and organise a short break to do something fun.
Each week we appoint a new ‘mental health manager’ who encourages the team to meet up in the coffee, work out and team drink channel. This can help companies who are new to online meeting rooms and feel a bit awkward in the beginning.
Decent equipment will save your life
It may sound obvious, but decent office equipment and systems will make remote working a lot easier.
Our colleagues who work from home on a regular basis are well equipped, others had the opportunity to take home any items they needed until our office will open again. A second screen, mouse, keyboard or even an office chair.
These items create a healthier, easier and more serious work surrounding. We also have agreements on the setting of online meetings: make sure your camera is always on and that there’s no backlight, dim background noise, make sure your microphone is working, that we can understand you etc.
Professional remote workers
As more companies are increasing remote working and we don’t know for how long Covid-19 quarantine will continue, we hope these tips can bring you some guidance!
Start with a good planning, train yourself to stick to it. Stay connected, invent new online meet ups that work for your team, so you can keep working on your team spirit, and last but not least, invest in decent home office equipment!
Creating the ideal home office environment and schedule may take some practice, but you will discover that these tips make it a lot easier to maintain the good work flow you have at your office!